Denmark / 10-10-2013
The number of Jews in Denmark has dropped, partly because of antisemitism
Denmark’s Jewish community has lost 25 percent of its registered members over the past 15 years, partly due to antisemitism, the president of the Jewish community said
In an interview with Danish daily Jillands-Posten, Finn Schwarz, president of Mosaisk Troessamfund said that the community currently has 1,899 members compared to 2,639 in 1997.
“For young people that are considering how to live their lives, it is of course tempting to choose to live in Israel or the United States, where to be Jewish is not considered something negative,” Schwartz said.
40 antisemitic incidents have been registered by the community in 2012, almost double the number in 2009.
According to Eva Boggild, Director of the cultural Danish Jewish magazine Goldberg, ‘’antisemitism is seen in verbal and physical threats, but also in the repeating discussions among politicians on banning circumcision and shechita, the religious ritual slaugher of animals.’’
‘’This makes it tempting for Jews to choose to move to a country where a traditional Jewish life is simply easier to maintain,’’ she told EJP.
But according to her, the phenomenom is also partly linked to the fact that the Jewish Community is defined only as an Orthodox Community.
‘’It has been suggested very often, that the community should and could be an umbrella organization for all the religious groups, handling the Jewish institutions such as the school, the old peoples home, the cemetary….’’ Boggild said.
‘’This would in my opinion make way for new members without forcing the existing members to change their way of living a Jewish life,’’ she said.
Last year, Jews in Denmark were advised by Mosaisk Troessamufund and by the embassy of Israel to avoid wearing the Star of David or the kippah, the religious head covering, in public.
“We advise Israelis who travel here and want to go to the synagogue that they should only put their kippah on once they are inside. They shouldn’t wear them on the street, even in areas that are considered safe, ” a Jewish leader then said.
There has been a Jewish presence in Denmark for more than 400 years. In 1814, the new Royal Decree was issued which gave Jews who were born in Denmark the same rights as other citizens of Denmark.
This week, the Danish government commemorates the 70th anniversary of the rescue operation of Danish Jews in which more than 7,500 Danish Jews were evacuated from occupied Denmark in fishing boats to neutral Sweden, where they survived the Holocaust.